Anthropologists: Time to Take Action! - Participate and Advocate
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Anthropologists: Time to Take Action!

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May 7, 2018

The new administration has settled in and is now considering a number of proposals that are of concern to the field of anthropology. Now is the time for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Anthropologists need to come together to stand strongly against these potentially devastating decisions. 

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Tell Congress you oppose a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. On March 26, the Department of Commerce announced that it is directing the Census Bureau to include a question about respondents’ citizenship on the 2020 Census. Given that the question is being added without any of the research and testing the Census Bureau routinely undertakes to evaluate changes to the questionnaire, this decision could affect the quality and integrity of the 2020 Census and add to its cost. COSSA opposes this decision and released a statement detailing its concerns. Use COSSA's action alert tool to write to your Members of Congress and tell them to reject this decision and protect the integrity and accuracy of the 2020 Census by passing legislation to remove this question. 

  2. Join the March for Science. AAA is an official partner organization of the March for Science. Download Building Momentum: Advocacy Resources for Societies here. 

    Help MFS put the science back in "science." 
    In 2018, we join together as science advocates to ask that President Trump prioritize appointing individuals with the appropriate level of science training and experience to critical science roles in our government. We ask that he preserve vital science roles in our government and give agencies the support they need to fill vacant positions.  As part of this process, we demand that Congress thoroughly examine the scientific background and qualifications of each candidate proposed for science leadership. Learn more and sign the petition here. 

  3. Speak out about gun violence. Join AAA and the March for Science as we call for Congress to fund the research we need to enact evidence-based policies to prevent gun violence. Read the open letter and add your name here

  4. Save the NEH! The Presidential Budget Request for FY 2019 again calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities along with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Education’s International Education Programs, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the Institute for Museums and Library Services. The request also calls for the elimination of federal funding for the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

    This is an assault on humanities research, education, and programming - all of which are essential to the cultivation of our national heritage and civic culture. Now is the time to speak out to ensure that Congress rejects these proposals for FY 2019. Let your Members of Congress know that you support the NEH!

  5. Support our graduate students. AAA and our fellow scientific and scholarly organizations are extremely concerned with provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) that will increase the financial burden for graduate students by repealing existing provisions in tax law. While the goal of the House tax reform plan is to help grow the US economy, the language to repeal the student loan interest deduction, graduate student tuition waivers, the Hope Scholarship Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit and educational assistance programs ultimately will have the opposite effect. By making advanced education less affordable, it is likely to drive some students away from seeking higher education. Read the full letter here (PDF) and contact your Representatives to let them know where you stand. 

    AAA has also signed on to an open letter to elected officials on the Graduate Student Tuition Waiver. Read the full letter on the March for Science website and use their form to contact your representatives. Additionally, AAA joined 30+ learned societies issuing a joint statement in opposition to the proposal to tax graduate school tuition waivers as income. Take action here.

  6. Support H.R.40. This bill would establish a “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans to examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.” Learn more in AAA's Congressional Network Action Alert: Civil Rights.

  7. Reject H.R.3990: Republican Attack on the Antiquities Act. President Trump is working with House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) to overhaul the Antiquities Act of 1906. A Republican bill, H.R. 3990, would make it difficult for future Presidents to create large national monuments to protect Native American heritage, archeological sites, terrestrial ecosystems, or marine life. Learn more about what you can do to stop this in our Congressional Network Action Alert on Cultural Heritage
  8. Support UNESCO. The American Anthropological Association, a credentialed observer with UNESCO’s Economic and Social Council non-governmental organization group, remains firmly allied and engaged with the international protocols and conventions it has developed. We stand united with our colleagues, peers and students around the world in support of UNESCO’s mission. Read our full statement. The AAA has also signed on to additional statements of concern regarding the withdrawal of the US from UNESCO with the Society for American Archaeology, the American Cultural Resources Association, and the Society for Historical Archaeology and with a coalition of seven other heritage organizations

  9. Protect the Antiquities Act. Congressman Rob Bishop is leading an attack on the Antiquities Act. He aims to erect numerous hurdles that would cripple the ability of future presidents to designate national monuments. If enacted, Congressman Bishop’s legislation would gut the Antiquities Act, one of America’s best tools for preserving our national treasures.

    The bill, HR 3990, the National Monument Creation and Protection Act, would impose stringent rules based on the size of the proposed monument. Monument designations between 10,000 and 85,000 acres would have to be approved by all county commissions, state legislatures and governors in an area affected by a national monument. Requiring so many diverse state and local lawmakers to agree on the monument designation is nothing more than a clever ruse. Under the guise of local control, this bill would impose such onerous requirements for approvals that it would make it virtually impossible for the President to designate any large national monuments. Furthermore, HR 3990 bars presidents from designating any marine national monuments – an egregious refusal to value underwater sites that are home to natural wonders and unique species of marine life.

    The Coalition for American Heritage opposes HR 3990 and asks all Coalition members to call their lawmakers and ask them to vote against HR 3990.

  10. Stand up for Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico syllabus project provides a list of resources for teaching and learning about the current economic crisis in Puerto Rico. The goal is to contribute to the ongoing public dialogue and rising social activism regarding the debt crisis by providing tools with which to assess its roots and its repercussions. Contribute or access the materials here. Additionally, more than 200 academics have signed their names to this statement addressing the current humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. The Caribbean Primate Research Center (CPRC) is also in need of financial support in the wake of Hurricane Maria. You can learn more and make a donation here

  11. Support those in need. AAA member Lauren Zentz has provided us with a list of organizations you can donate to in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

  12. Advocate for others. People from Latin America, Africa, and six Muslim-majority nations have been targeted by the Trump administration for arbitrary detention, increased surveillance, deportation, and immigration bans. Members of Congress will be visiting their local districts in August. We urge all AAA members to meet with elected representatives—sharing your research expertise and specific concerns about unlawful behavior of ICE Agents (H.R.2073) and the status of the Bridge Act (S. 128). Find additional details in our Congressional Action Alert on Immigration. You can also read AAA's statement against the Trump administration's plans to eliminate the DACA program
  13. Stand against racism. In the wake of recent events in Charlottesville, the AAA joined forces with the American Historical Association, the Society for Applied Anthropology, and the American Sociological Association to establish the Understanding Race After Charlottesville initiative to help our members and the public continue moving forward with important conversations on race and convert those conversations to action. The cycle of violence must end.

  14. Oppose the elimination of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)! The Trump Administration has proposed the elimination of this important source of grants for preserving our heritage and making it accessible to the public. Act now to tell Congress level-fund NHPRC at $6 million next year! Use the contact form on the NHA website. 

  15. Support the Paris Agreement. Reach out to local elected officials to encourage them to step up where the President isn't on climate. Here are some tips from our partners at March for Science to help: 

    • Contact your Governor to ask him or her to take evidence-based action on climate change in your state.
    • Connect with your local March for Science Satellite and take part in their local actions.
    • Not a U.S. citizen? Contact your nation’s leaders to urge them to remain a part of this historic agreement.
    • Read and share the March for Science statement on this decision here.
    • Share your support for the Paris Agreement on social media by sharing this graphic and using the hashtag #ActOnClimate

  16. Advance scientific stewardship. The Consortium of Social Science Associations co-leads the Coalition to Promote Research (CPR), a coalition of national organizations committed to promoting public health, innovation, and fundamental knowledge through scientific research. Their petition: Advancing Principles of Scientific Stewardship reaffirms support for responsible and effective stewardship of the scientific infrastructure and maintaining the quality of our nation’s research enterprise by embracing the fundamental values that have long sustained its development.

  17. Urge your members of Congress to fund science. Show your support for scientific research by contacting your members of Congress, and urging them support science while they craft their appropriations bills. Use this contact form on the AAAS website.

  18. Go on record in support of humanities programs. Make sure your members of Congress know how important programs like international education (Title VI and Fulbright Hayes) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are to your research or institution. Let them know if your institution has benefitted from federal funding for the humanities and share how the work completed with that grant benefits the greater community. 

    • The National Humanities Alliance has resources to help you prepare for your calls including issue briefs, an NEH fact sheet, and images for use on social media as well as a page where you can take direct action in support of humanities funding. 

  19. Attend Town Hall Meetings. One of the most effective tactics we've seen over the years to influence Members of Congress is attending town hall meetings. Find resources to help you prepare and tips for locating a meeting near you on the AAAS website. Follow the Coalition for American Heritage on Facebook for additional updates. 
  20. Use our resources. In the wake of the 2016 US election, AAA has been gathering a variety of resources to support our members. Access those resources on the AAA blog and add resources that fellow anthropologists might find helpful in the comments. 

  21. Get social. The Congressional Management Foundation found that 80% of Congressional staff pay close attention to their constituents on social media. Find your elected officials, including their social media information, and start following them to learn about their priorities, so you are prepared to make the case. Also be sure to follow AAA on Facebook and Twitter and use #AnthroForward for advocacy updates, tools and resources.

Access all of AAA’s advocacy resources on our website.

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